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If You Can: How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly Paperback – July 16, 2014
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Top Customer Reviews
And therefore I read this booklet as if I were one of the youngsters just starting out. For so many new savers, the investing world is Complex and Confusing. I want to know WHAT to read, HOW to do things, IN WHAT ORDER; Just give me a good map and I can follow it! And that's what this is. It coincides with many of the proven classics of Personal Finance I have read already...when you start to read things over and over in other books, you start to see patterns, you start to understand, and you begin to implement.
This is a personal journey for me, researching all this stuff. Fearing it was all over my head, I decided to proceed with self-learning. It's not as confusing as it first seemed. I LOVE this little eBook! In one compact place it laid out all the basics (that's why it is intended for young people just starting out) but I needed it too! And it gave me a list of several other books to read, which I promptly ordered from Amazon (using points and gift card balances so as not to go into DEBT to get them. Ha!)
Knowledge is POWER! I will see to it that my 16 year old son reads this before he graduates high school! He has taken an interest in personal finance because he is seeing his mother do it! This book is for everyone!
a well condensed version (for the Twitter generation),
addressing the challenges young investors face (quote below, good advice for all ages),
written by an "expert" (what do parents know?).
Hurdle 1: Even if you can invest like Warren Buffett, if you can't save, you'll die poor.
Hurdle 2: Finance isn't rocket science, but you'd better understand it clearly.
Hurdle 3: Those who ignore financial history are condemned to repeat it.
Hurdle 4: We have met the enemy and he is us.
Hurdle 5: The financial services industry wants to make you poor and stupid.
I thought it was well worth $0.99, though I am an unabashed fan of Dr B (my AA is still based on 'The Four Pillars...')
Other potential investors may think, “Shall I delay,” given the gyrations of the stock market’s current volatility? “Whom can I ask for professional help?” or “What in the world is a fiduciary, some exotic bird sanctuary?” Dr. Bernstein lists and addresses these concerns for newbies in five categories of “Hurdles” and follow-up reading material for each:
Hurdle one: Excessive spending. Recommended reading: The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. (I also recommend a blog, Mr. Money Mustache. He writes imaginative and practical articles about the most boring and unappealing characteristics of personal finance, frugal living).
Hurdle two: Not understanding the basics of theory and practice of finance. Recommended reading: Jack Bogle’s classic, Common Sense on Mutual Funds. This book is probably the best introduction to basic finance ever written.
Hurdle three: History. A colorful and interesting stock market history does exist! Three recommended books: Devil Take the Hindmost by Edward Chancellor, The Great Depression: A Diary by Benjamin Roth, and in a recent interview he also suggested Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay.
Hurdle four: Know thyself. Recommended book, Your Money and Your Brain, by Jason Zweig (details below). .
Hurdle five: Recognizing the financial industry professionals for whom they really are--self-serving. Evolving to a Do-It-Yourselfer (DIY) is the best advice offered. The reading assignment is the same as Hurdle Number Two: Common Sense on Mutual Funds by Jack Bogle. If you devour the details of this book, you will know more about investing than most professionals. If you know how to invest, you will see what the financial industry is up to and you will avoid their sales pitches with confidence.
Dr. Bernstein’s book is an aggrandized “Cliff Notes” to focus and encourage Millennials to begin a serious study for the next year or two of additional readings.
I want to elaborate on Hurdle number four. “Know thyself” cannot be learned from reading alone. Even Sir Isaac Newton lamented, “I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people." Newton struggled bitterly trying to find out what went wrong with his investments during the 1746 South Sea investment crash.
The surest way to build mental toughness and discipline is to experience losses with your real money. Readers who understand their emotions will benefit by knowing their unique balance between taking on too much portfolio risk or being too cautious. If novice investors have prepared themselves to suffer through short-term losses and experience recovery, you will be okay. Recall the title of this book, “… Get Rich Slowly”. There is only one part of the financial industry you can trust, and that’s the worldwide economies will grow overtime. Be patient. Time is on your side.
Jason Zweig’s excellent book (Your Money and Your Brain) will focus your understanding of how other investors react to stock market gains and losses. Investors need their own experience in the school-of-hard-knocks. After reading Dr. Bernstein’s recommended books, most novice investors must experience by living through stock market volatility to understand their reactions when Mr. Bear Market comes growling. Why? If an investor is not prepared mentally, a carefully constructed low-cost portfolio is abandoned faster than a cockroach scurrying from your kitchen light.
This reviewer learned the hard way and took a working career to comprehend the investing process and balanced thinking, but never regretted massive investing mistakes. In hindsight, losing 70% was painful with the incessant question, what was I thinking? However, those mistakes turned out to be valuable learning experiences, saving tens of thousands in excessive investment costs in subsequent years with an appropriate risk and return, low-cost balanced portfolio.
Congratulations for finding this excellent book--you will thank yourself 30 years from now. Learning to be a DIY takes time, and for some, perhaps a painful experience or two. Don’t be discouraged if you stumble. Always remember, mistakes can be valuable learning experiences, far more valuable than spending several percentage points year-after-year when you turn your decisions over to a financial adviser or broker.
Final note: The author praised the genuine greatness and unpretentious John Bogle, the founder of the Vanguard Group. For decades, Bogle has been the only person in the financial services industry who gave Vanguard’s profits back to clients. Subsequently, Vanguard has grown to be the largest and most respected investment company in the world. Twenty million investors with over four trillion in assets (Feb. 2017) participate in Vanguard, agreeing with Bogle’s over-the-top concern about giving us regular folks a fair chance against Wall Street’s innate greed
The author correctly compares investing to losing weight -- simple, but not easy. He also describes this booklet as more of a roadmap than a complete tome. However, its brevity is why I recommend it to friends and family. Not everyone has the time to sit down and read Bernstein's online essays or his many wonderful books. This booklet offers an excellent starting point, as well as a good reading list for future studies.
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